Even with sweet memories of beach days, sunshine, summer camps, and cookouts still playing in our heads, this time of year can't help but elicit the excitement of new pencils, notebooks, and backpacks. The air is slightly cooler as days become shorter, and there is a sense of new beginnings as the first day of school draws near. But even with all those good vibes, finding the rhythm of back to school can be challenging at first. Earlier bedtimes, lunches to pack, and structured days all require a bit of planning on the front end to ensure a smooth transition. Read on to discover some suggestions from our faculty and staff.
- "Help your child reflect on their hopes and dreams for the year ahead. What's something new you could try? How will you be a good friend? What do you want to create? What are you excited to learn about or do? In the younger grades, discussion around questions like these builds excitement while also preparing the child for various situations they could encounter across all four pillars of our mission. In the older grades, students can begin the process of goal setting, which we know is a life-long skill that requires practice."
~ Kelly Goodspeed
- "Arrival and dismissal can be overwhelming for students, especially if they're younger or new to the school. To help your child feel better about this transition, practice heading out the door in the morning, grabbing backpacks, lunch boxes, and whatever else is needed for school. During Meet & Greets, show your child the door they'll be dropped off at and how to get to their classroom from there!"
~ Kristin Personette
- "Children do best when routines are in place. A week before school begins, establish a bedtime routine. This may include storytelling, reading, or simply talking about the day. A consistent morning routine is just as important as a bedtime routine. To help make a smooth morning transition, try setting out clothes and packing snacks/lunch the night before to alleviate any bumps during the morning. Also, have your child eat a healthy breakfast to help them sustain their energy while learning."
~ Shelly Sharp
- "Be sure to complete those last-minute outside excursions on your family's summer bucket list! Once school starts, we will be super busy, and fall will come shortly!"
~ Tara Grove
- "This school year is a new day, a new dawn, and a fresh start. How exciting! Be excited and share that excitement and positive energy with your entire family. Stay positive by starting your new sleep routine now before school starts. Sorry for the cliche, but early to bed and early to rise! I have already started that process. I am amazed at what I can accomplish in the morning after a good night's sleep. I am excited to see you soon!"
~ Deborah Girasek-Chudzynski
- "Practice eating your lunch like you will at school. Learn how to open your containers and packages, manage your own meal, and think about having lunchtime conversations with friends. What will you ask them about while you're eating lunch on the first day of school?"
~ Randi Bowling
- "Beginning school is all about getting into a "mental rhythm." One of the best ways to train your mental rhythm is to reset your sleep cycle, known as your circadian rhythm, and set some simple goals for the school year. Our sleep cycle is affected by light, dark and other factors like electronic devices and staying up late. To reduce these factors, keep a regular sleep schedule and remove distractions. So, if school starts at 8:10-8:15 am, that puts bedtime between 7-9:30 pm for three to thirteen-year-olds. Setting a goal, for example, 'To be disciplined with turning off my cell phone before bed or no screen time 30-45 minutes before bed,' will help your body learn to adjust to the new rhythm. As you transition from summer rhythm to school rhythm, ask yourself, "what mental rhythms do I want to train in preparation for the start of school?"
~ Nathaniel King
- "Our family likes to celebrate the end of summer by doing one more special thing before the school year starts. That special memory is then a good thing to reflect on if a child has a bad day. We try to preach as a family the famous quote, 'Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it.' by L.M. Montgomery."
~ McKayela Hornor
- "One thing your student can do to help prepare for a new school year in the art studio is to practice making mistakes! Hear me out … mistakes are vital to the creative process. Mistakes happen all the time when making art, and although our children often become upset when they make them, we should be encouraging them to welcome these 'oops' opportunities and outcomes. Making art and making mistakes along the way allows us to gain a healthy perspective on working through obstacles. So the next time your child gets upset because their drawing doesn't look 'just right' or the color being mixed is totally wrong, tell them they're doing great. All artists make mistakes, and that's the beauty of the art-making process!"
~ Sarah Lotter
- "Third grade is the perfect time for students to start learning to pack their own snacks and lunches. Help them out by giving them some guidelines and providing healthy choices to choose from. This also helps ensure they like what they pack and eat their lunches. If time in the morning is tight, pack them the night before to avoid any last-minute challenges."
~ Kim Pruett
- "Take time before the first day of school to have your child set up a special space at home designated as their homework station. It should be a quiet area free from distractions where they can feel comfortable and ready to focus. For middle schoolers, it's important to have a place to plug in a Chromebook each evening, and they should get comfortable logging into MySchoolApp for assignments. Students should also prepare to get in the habit of using their planners to write down assignments and reminders. Getting organized ahead of time is key!"
~ George Phillip
- "Set aside a day to do a thorough deep-cleaning of your room. Do all your laundry first, and make a special effort to organize your closet, dresser drawers, and wardrobe rack. Once all your clothes are clean, dry, and freshly scented, try all of your clothes on before you hang them up. Take an empty box or suitcase, put all your clothes that no longer fit inside it, and donate them to Goodwill (or your church, your synagogue, or your mosque, etc.). Take your time as you create your top 10 school outfits and hang each one on a separate hanger (for example, your pants first, then your shirt, then your sweater or vest, your socks, and your belt all on the same hanger). Listen to your favorite playlist while you do this. If some of your clothes need repairs or alterations, set them aside and make sure you have a few days to get them done before school starts. Once your room looks picture-perfect, reward yourself with your favorite meal or snack. Wear your favorite outfit on the first day of school and leave your best first impression on others by smiling and LISTENING as much as possible. You might be surprised how easily you'll make new friends."
~ Michael Anand-Obleton
- "The beginning of a new school year is the perfect time to reestablish bedtime routines. Children need a consistent, predictable routine that prepares them for a restful night's sleep. At least one hour before bedtime, turn off all screens. Wind down as a family with a good book read-aloud, a soothing sing-along, or chatting about the day's highlights."
~ Heather Kerckhove
About the Author
Director of Marketing and Communications
- back to school